By Saeed Mirshekari

Mar 22, 2024

Unveiling the Best and Worst States for Data Scientists in America

The field of data science is flourishing across the United States, offering ample opportunities for professionals seeking to make their mark in this dynamic and rapidly evolving industry. However, not all states are created equal when it comes to providing an ideal environment for data scientists to thrive. In this comprehensive blog, we'll explore the best and worst states for data scientists in America, considering factors such as job opportunities, salaries, cost of living, and overall quality of life.

The Best States for Data Scientists

1. California

Known as the technology hub of the world, California, and particularly the Silicon Valley region, stands out as a mecca for data scientists. The state boasts an abundance of tech giants, startups, and innovative companies, offering a plethora of opportunities for those skilled in data science. With a high demand for talent and competitive salaries, California remains a top choice for data scientists looking to advance their careers.


  • High job demand in tech-centric cities.
  • Competitive salaries reflective of the cost of living.
  • Networking opportunities with industry leaders.


  • High cost of living, especially in cities like San Francisco.

2. New York

New York is a global financial and cultural powerhouse, and its demand for data scientists is on the rise. The city, particularly Manhattan, is home to numerous financial institutions, media companies, and tech startups, providing a diverse range of opportunities for data scientists. Salaries are competitive, and the city offers a vibrant lifestyle for those seeking a dynamic and culturally rich environment.


  • Diverse job opportunities across industries.
  • Competitive salaries with room for growth.
  • Cultural amenities and a bustling lifestyle.


  • Elevated cost of living.

3. Massachusetts

Massachusetts, and in particular the Boston metropolitan area, is a hotspot for data science professionals. With a concentration of top universities, research institutions, and biotech companies, the state offers a unique blend of academic and industry opportunities. The demand for data scientists in fields like healthcare, biotechnology, and finance is driving a robust job market.


  • Strong presence of universities and research institutions.
  • Opportunities in healthcare, biotech, and finance sectors.
  • Growing tech ecosystem.


  • Moderate to high cost of living.

4. Washington

The state of Washington, and more specifically Seattle, has become synonymous with tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft. As a hub for technology and innovation, the demand for data scientists is substantial. With a lower cost of living compared to Silicon Valley, Washington offers an attractive option for those seeking a tech-focused environment without the extreme expenses.


  • Thriving tech industry with major players.
  • Lower cost of living compared to some tech hubs.
  • Access to outdoor amenities and a diverse lifestyle.


  • Increasing competition for tech talent.

5. Texas

Texas, with its major cities like Austin and Dallas, is emerging as a significant player in the tech scene. The state offers a business-friendly environment, a lower cost of living, and a growing number of tech companies establishing a presence. For data scientists, Texas presents an opportunity to be part of a burgeoning tech community with a more affordable lifestyle.


  • Growing tech ecosystem.
  • Lower cost of living compared to some tech hubs.
  • Business-friendly environment.


  • The tech scene is still evolving compared to established hubs.

The Worst States for Data Scientists

1. Mississippi

While Mississippi has its strengths, the demand for data scientists is relatively low compared to other states. The state's economy is not as heavily driven by technology and innovation, limiting the opportunities for professionals in the data science field.


  • Limited job opportunities in data science.
  • Lower demand for tech talent.

2. West Virginia

Similar to Mississippi, West Virginia lacks the robust tech ecosystem found in more prosperous states. The demand for data scientists is minimal, and the state may not offer the professional growth opportunities that professionals in this field seek.


  • Limited job market for data scientists.
  • Fewer opportunities for career advancement.

3. Arkansas

Arkansas faces challenges in establishing a significant tech presence, resulting in fewer opportunities for data scientists. The state's economy is not as tech-centric, leading to a limited demand for professionals in the field.


  • Limited tech industry.
  • Lower demand for data science professionals.

4. North Dakota

North Dakota, while economically stable, does not boast a flourishing tech sector. Data science opportunities are relatively scarce, and professionals in this field may find limited options for career advancement.


  • Limited job market for data scientists.
  • Lower demand for tech talent.

5. Wyoming

Wyoming's economy, rooted in agriculture and energy, does not provide a conducive environment for data scientists. The demand for tech professionals is minimal, and the state may not offer the diverse job opportunities available in more tech-centric regions.


  • Limited tech industry.
  • Fewer job opportunities for data scientists.

Considerations for Data Scientists

While the best and worst states for data scientists provide a general overview, individual preferences and priorities play a crucial role in decision-making. Consider the following factors when evaluating potential locations for your data science career:

1. Job Opportunities:

  • Research the demand for data scientists in your target state.
  • Evaluate the presence of major tech companies and startups.

2. Salaries and Cost of Living:

  • Consider the salary range for data scientists in relation to the cost of living.
  • Explore potential areas with a balance between competitive salaries and affordability.

3. Industry Focus:

  • Examine the dominant industries in each state and whether they align with your career goals.
  • Seek regions with a diverse range of industries to broaden your opportunities.

4. Quality of Life:

  • Assess lifestyle factors, including cultural amenities, outdoor activities, and overall quality of life.
  • Balance professional opportunities with personal preferences.

5. Networking and Community:

  • Explore the local tech community and networking opportunities.
  • Consider joining local meetups, conferences, and industry events.


Choosing the right state for your data science career is a significant decision that involves careful consideration of various factors. While some states offer thriving tech ecosystems, competitive salaries, and diverse opportunities, others may have limitations in terms of job demand and industry focus. By understanding the best and worst states for data scientists in America and evaluating your priorities, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your professional and personal goals. Whether you're drawn to the bustling tech hubs of California or the emerging scenes in states like Texas, the right choice can set the stage for a successful and fulfilling data science career.

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About O'Fallon Labs

In O'Fallon Labs we help recent graduates and professionals to get started and thrive in their Data Science careers via 1:1 mentoring and more.

Saeed Mirshekari, PhD

Saeed is currently a Director of Data Science in Mastercard and the Founder & Director of O'Fallon Labs LLC. He is a former research scholar at LIGO team (Physics Nobel Prize of 2017). Learn more about Saeed...

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